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Politics

Alaska elections director says Trump commission will get some voter data — but not if it’s private

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published June 30, 2017

Alaska elections officials say they will release the state's voter rolls to President Donald Trump's election integrity and voter fraud commission, but that list will be scrubbed of private voter information.

Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent a letter to all 50 states Wednesday asking for publicly available voter data. The president has claimed that illegal voting cost him a larger victory over Hillary Clinton last year, though without providing supporting evidence.

Alaska Elections Director Josie Bahnke, who works under Democratic Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, said Friday that her division expects to comply with the request. The state will retain data that is confidential under state law, such as the last four digits of voters' Social Security numbers and birth dates, Bahnke added.

The commission's request includes birth dates and the last four digits of Social Security numbers, but only "if publicly available under the laws of your state."

Civil rights groups have blasted the request.

"This meritless inquisition opens the door for a misguided and ill-advised commission to take steps to target and harass voters and could lead to purging of the voter rolls," Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a prepared statement.

State elections officials routinely provide Alaska's public voter data to political party operatives, and the information is widely disseminated. But officials in several other states are rejecting the commission's request, saying they don't want to perpetuate unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud by Trump, Pence and Kobach.

Kobach, who supports ballot access restrictions, came to Alaska in 2013 to testify in support of a voter photo ID bill.

Alaska previously joined the "Kansas Project," a multistate initiative convened by Kobach to look for duplicate voter registrations. State elections officials said Friday that confidential data was likely provided to the project, though they couldn't remember the details. Such data, they added, would only have been made available if the state was promised that it wouldn't be publicly released.

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